The North Carolina Senate has passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana under tight restrictions. Dubbed the “Compassionate Care Act,” the legislation would allow medical marijuana use across the state for people with certain conditions, such as cancer, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more, but not for chronic pain or recreational use. The bill received strong support with a margin of 36 to 10, after a vote at precisely 4:20 p.m. for the second consecutive day, a time with a significant meaning in marijuana culture.
Republican Senators Bill Rabon and Michael Lee, along with Democratic Senator Paul Lowe, sponsored the bill, arguing that it would benefit North Carolinians while also protecting public safety through regulations. However, the bill now moves to the House for consideration, where it was blocked last year. Nonetheless, House Speaker Tim Moore has expressed hope about the bill’s prospects this year, citing a shift in opinions and potential legitimate uses of medical marijuana.
Moore stressed the importance of “reasonable controls” and regulation to prevent monopolies, stating that the bill should not result in “these things literally on every street corner.” On the other hand, opponents of the bill, such as Senator Jim Burgin of Harnett County, argued that marijuana is not medicine and hasn’t undergone the same level of rigorous testing as other drugs. Nevertheless, supporters of medical marijuana pointed to the growing body of research and its potential to treat various conditions.
If the bill passes in the House, North Carolina would become one of the many states that have legalized medical marijuana in recent years. Supporters of such laws claim that they can provide relief for patients who may not respond well to other treatments, while opponents raise concerns about the potential for abuse and the lack of regulation in the industry.